Bagels and cream cheese is (are?) somewhat at the center of an interesting case arising out of a federal court in Colorado.
Plaintiff was employed by the Colorado Department of Transportation to perform tasks such as planning, scheduling and organizing official functions and special training events. He is a devout Christian who claimed that he was discriminated against on the basis of his religious faith because he was told to send invitations to reschedule an “annual employee appreciation luncheon” which had been scheduled during the observance of Ramadan, so that an observant Muslim co-worker could attend. The rescheduled event was a bagels and cream cheese breakfast “[o]n behalf of our fellow employees who are celebrating the end of the Month of fasting [Ramadan].”
Plaintiff objected to accommodating his Muslim colleague, and refused to forward the invitations. He claimed that this was “seriously inappropriate” and “overly accommodating to Muslim proselytization and practices in the workplace,” violating the First Amendment by “establishing that Ramadan was the top religion [in the workplace].”
The Court disagreed.
“There is no question but that plaintiff subjectively was offended … [and] plainly believed that these actions condoned religious proselytizing of Islam in the workplace and found such actions offensive to his own religious beliefs. Objectively, however, the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff, does not support a conclusion that a reasonable person could view these events, singly or in combination, as sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to create a religiously hostile or abusive working environment.”
Could it have been the bagels? Maybe they should have had pancakes!